Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bad Things Happen to Good People

I have been thinking about the suffering of good people lately. I think so often I fall into the karma trap of believing that if you are putting good out into the world good things should be coming to you. And while I guess this is true in an Eternal perspective, sometimes it just seems like life doesn't work that way. Bad things happen everyday to good people who don't "deserve" it.

They can be little injustices or huge losses. Either way these bad things can add up to be difficult to bear. And the kicker is that often they happen to people who are doing everything they can to do what is right and just and make the world a better place. They happen to people who "deserve" to win at the game of life. People who work hard and are generous to others and are kind.

But in my thinking on this subject, I have noticed how many times in the scriptures there are prophets who "deserve" to win and are subjected to pains and trials. They are imprisoned and cast out and rejected. I notice how often they pray for strength to bear their afflictions with patience and faith.

Reading these stories in the scriptures where we can find out how the story ended just a few verses further makes it almost seem that it was easy for these men or women. But I have thought more seriously about how it must really have been, in the moment, for these faithful servants of God.

How must Daniel have felt as he was thrown into the lions' den for being obedient to the Lord's commandment to pray? Did he ever doubt? Did he wonder if maybe the Lord just wanted him to die? Did he feel forsaken as he walked to that lions' den?

I guess the point that has hit me yet again in my reflections is that ultimately we "win" at this game of life if at the end we have become like our Savior Jesus Christ. And he was a man acquainted with grief, a man of sorrows, a man rejected by his own. He healed the sick and made the lame walk and the blind see and still he was falsely accused and put to death in a most cruel manner.

He allowed himself to suffer so that he would know how to succor us. Because He knew that in this mortal life, bad things would always happen to good people. And He knew that through those trials of our faith, we would find opportunities to grow in important ways and to become more like Him.